Craft & Design
Flashback: Make a Spider Loom for Lace

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By Emilee Gettle

I love collecting unusual craft patterns and looms, especially vintage ones. Earlier in the year I went to a vintage fashion expo. After meandering through a menagerie of oddly dressed individuals and great-grandmothers’ closet rejects, I found a small booth filled to the brim with old patterns, buttons, and lace. A leaflet from the 1930s with instructions on how to make lace with a spider loom caught my eye, and I instinctively snatched it up.

Spider looms were originally made in the 30s and 40s from light wood and even plastic, and sometimes they were sold in kits with a needle and pattern book. I found a few looms listed on eBay, but the bidding fervor made my pocketbook shrink in horror. So I decided to design my own loom using the pictures in the old leaflet.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make your own spider loom. With this loom you can make round and square pieces of delicate lace. I’ve also included the original instructions from my amazing find to ease you into the process of learning to use the loom!


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Materials

Pattern, provided below as PDF
Scissors
Scotch tape
Scrap of foam board
X-Acto knife
Tapestry or upholstery needle

Pattern PDF:
Download PDF Download the Pattern PDF
Right click to save the PDF to your desktop. Directions on downloading PDFs.
Vintage Instructions PDF:
Download PDF Download the Pattern PDF
Right click to save the PDF to your desktop. Directions on downloading PDFs.

Directions

Step 1: Print the PDF pattern provided and cut it out along the solid line.

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Step 2: Tape the pattern onto the piece of foam board and carefully cut the foam board with the X-Acto knife.

spider loom img 3.jpg

Step 3: Make sure the pattern is still taped onto the now-round foam board. Then use the needle to punch out each dot on the pattern. Make sure the hole goes through to the back. You will also need to punch a hole in the center of the pattern, where the large dark circle is.

spider loom img 4.jpg

Step 4: Remove the paper pattern, and you have your very own loom!

About the Author:

emilee gettle.jpg

Emilee Gettle loves reinventing vintage craft patterns and finds particular joy in constantly reorganizing her craft room and rediscovering orphaned projects. She writes about her latest finds, recipes, and mishaps at Heirloom Girl.

20 thoughts on “Flashback: Make a Spider Loom for Lace

  1. Just an FYI in case someone enjoys this tutorial and would wish to pursue it further, this lace technique is called by several different names in different parts of the world, such as teneriffe lace, Sol lace, or Nanduti. Teneriffe is probably the most popular name. There are several different options for the template or form used. My favorite modern “form” is plastic canvas–a lot easier than the instructions above in my opinion! Just snip through the outside row between each verticle bar creating a “T” shape you can wrap the threads around (this eliminates the “Basting” step in the instructions above). When you are done, just carefully cut the top of the T off and pull the lace off. You can reuse the canvas several times, but your form is just slightly smaller the next time. The technique in this tutorial is great, however, if you want to make unusual shapes not found in plastic canvas (or if plastic canvas isn’t available in your part of the world!)

  2. in puerto rico we call this lace craft “Soles de Maracaibo” and you can make the pillows with a medium weight vinyl. in this pillows you draw the patterns. you can use #10 thread and a long needle, like doll making or upholsterer’s needles. remember to cut or file the needle point. tapestry needles works also. use extra long pins to hold the thread better.

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Haley Pierson-Cox from Red-Handled Scissors is a maker of crafts, a lover of cats, an avid swearing enthusiast, a cross-stitch book author, and a general purveyor of quirk. She's also sometimes an irritable cartoon named Tiny Cranky Haley. https://www.redhandledscissors.com

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